What are the Benefits of Being A Reader for Our Whole Lives?

Being a lifelong reader can improve our lives so much! That means we have a growth mindset and we want to keep learning and improving. When our children see us reading, then because they want to be like us–the principle of attachment–they will want to read too.

When “marketable skills”  are mentioned maybe we think we need to know how to code, or have a business or finance degree, but if we have been readers our whole lives then we have layers and layers of abilities that will help us in so many ways:

  1. Almost every job requires reading skills–if we are already an expert at plowing through heavy literature, reading emails and workplace manuals will be a breeze.
  2. Reading helps us with stress. A thoughtful New Yorker article relates how the author was panicking over her lack of spirituality. She wanted to be shored up  spiritually in case a loved one died. She aquired a list of books that she read over a couple of years and she gleaned  gems that lightened her worry and anxiety over how to handle death. 
  3. Reading fiction helps us have more empathy according to this study.
  4. Understanding what we are reading matters. Reading comprehension takes practice.
  5. There are many jobs for good readers–especially as more and more business is done online.
  6. Reading enriches our vocabulary and communication skills. This means we are being exposed to new words and ideas so we become smarter and are able to says things more intelligently.
  7. Reading helps us become better writers. When we read a lot we are exposed to many writing styles, we see grammar being laid out correctly without studying a text book,  and we are exposed to more vocabulary. 
  8. Reading teaches us to do hard things as we read about others doing hard things. In the children’s classic book, A Little Princess, when the pampered Sarah Crewe’s father, loses his fortune, and she is relegated to the attic of her boarding school and becomes a servant, she still acts like a princess. She chooses to not answer rudely when she is spoken sharply to, and trudges through snow and rain in chilly London doing errands for the cook. Where once she had her own carriage and footman, she wears ragged clothing and thin shoes. In this children’s book her experience can teach children how to get through hard things. 
  9. Reading helps us think critically: books help us see complex patterns and how to problem solve.
  10. Books are full of great role models. Where the Red Fern Grows  is the fictional story of a boy that wants a pair of “coon” dogs for the unbelievable sum of $50.00 during the Great Depression. He works picking raspberries for 10-15 cents a batch and earns and waits for two years before he can pick up his dogs, walking 30 miles to get them. It’s the story of love, grit, loyalty, courage, and responsibility. It is a slice of history, showing us a simpler, humbler time. There are many ways to find good books like these that resonate with our children. My adult children still mention Where the Red Fern Grows  as being one of their favorites read-aloud books. My husband and I are currently reading Grant by Ron Chernow, together, and are amazed how the years before he became the top General running the whole Civil War, he couldn’t find his purpose, and was selling wood on the streets of St. Louis in order to feed his family. Ulysses S. Grant then became President of the United States! He is an incredible role model of modesty, clear thinking and perseverance.
  11. Readers can do better with employment opportunities: This study shows how reading during your teenage years helps you get a better job.

I have always loved this quote:

“Children’s books fairly pulsate with power when it comes to teaching. There are endless ways in which books power learning.” Michael O. Tunnell, chair, Department of Teacher Education, McKay School, BYU

When we choose to enjoy books our whole lives then we can harness that “power” to impact our lives for good and be a good example of reading for our children’s sakes. If you haven’t read for a while, go on the Libby app, pick a book and listen while you drive. It will change your life!

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